Respecting the awesome power of words!

Posts tagged “inspiration




So often I have longed
 and looked for her
  to arrive on stately steed,
   impenetrable coat of mail,
    shield, sword, and spear
  to multiply the fear, 
 as I sit idly by, 
enjoying the show.

      When she appears,
     demurely standing beside
    all whose necks bear
   the boot print of power,
  all who’re on the menu,
 steadily waving
the flag of resistance,
 I look right past her,
  blinded by the irony
    of a privilege that’s unable
      to recognize anything but
       the love of power,
         impervious to
          the power of love.

Still, she refuses
 to throw me under the bus,
 declines to send me
to a seat in the rear.

   “Sing with us.” she invites.
  “The revolution will uproot
 fear and hatred,
not with looking glass’
 shield and retribution,
  but by the resonance
  of neighbor and
   the restoration of love.”

That's when the fire 
 in my bones is stoked, 
  and I can more clearly see 
    where my own words and actions 
  can add to the dismantling 
 of the leaning tower, and 
lay a foundation for hope.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins




Laughter and crying
  are at opposite ends
    of a spectrum
  both of whose extremities
are incredulity.

The former,
  buoyed by possibility;
  the latter,
weighed down with dread.

The line between them
  is neither straight,
  nor two-dimensional,
but curved, spherical.

When they back up
  to one another,
    on the shadowed side
     of our universe,
    we sometimes say
  we’re laughing
to keep from crying.

That’s when
  fear and hope
  are grappling
for our soul;

when we can’t yet discern
  whether the burgeoning light
    rising over the eastern mountains
      is another raging dumpster fire,
   the torching
  of a chaparral called home,
 or the hopeward resurrection
of the morning sun.

Keep wrestling,
  mi amigos; the light
is on your side.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Sing Our Faith



Can we sing our faith;
let our instruments
accompany us along a journey
through the valleys
of pain, loss, and despair?

The beat and rhythm
of percussion and keyboard,
the synthesis of two hands
and their family of fingers
sliding and gliding
across the frets and strings,
pressing and plucking out
deep, heartfelt connections
to soulful gashes that refuse
to succumb to the grief
and chaos that have
crashed their way
into our bones and lives;

these are what give
power and energy to voices
wailing the dissonance
of our suffering,
their courageous tremolo and vibrato,
conjuring hope ex nihilo.

Without music’s smoldering fire,
creation’s dream of love
would surely be extinguished.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins




So many ways I can imagine
for you to find your way
out of this steep canyon
of grief;

the sun rising across
the mountains of pain,
or at least a waxing moon
reflecting hope across the valley
from a starlit sky;

memories of laughter
flashing across the screen,
interrupting your suffering
like bulletins from
an Emergency Broadcast System;

long-forgotten stories
of hope and love
retold and rekindled
at tables surrounded
by grace and comfort food;

mercy and forgiveness
floating through your dreams and
into your marrow like smoke
from a lazy campfire.

All of these are what
I pray for you,
but most of all,
I hope you breathe.

When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”(John 20:22)

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

Such as These



(Matthew 19:14) but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.”

The other day,
  I watched a video
    of our newborn grandson.
      His eyes seemed
    to be blinking me
  a message in his own
kind of code:

“When newborns are given
  a healthful blend
    of divinely inspired
      safety and freedom,
    we offer the world
  another chance to understand
our life’s purpose.

Our spontaneous naps
  are purest centering prayer,
    tethering us securely
  to the original source
of our spiritual DNA;

our awakenings,
  unadulterated anticipation
of the sacred and ecstatic.

We perceive the world
  by smell, sight, taste,
    touch, and sound;
      content, for now, to utter
    nothing more
  than dove-like coos
in guileless response.

Through the rhythmic cycle
  of our days and nights,
    we mirror unfiltered engagement
  with the full range
of our emotions:

deep tears
  of discomfort and anxiety,
  rich laughter
of hope and delight;

all the while refusing
  to blame others for our pain,
    yet ever-ready
  to accept their support
when it’s offered.

If you want to experience
  childlike faith: laugh, cry,
  rest, observe in awe,
wonder, accept help.”

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”(Matthew 11:28-30)

© 2018 Todd Jenkins


The Message


(Ode to Eugene)

I saw and heard you, 
years ago, in Chicago. 

You’re among a handful 
of folks, including 
Buechner, Brueggemann, 
Duck and Tirabassi, Harris, 
whose deeply grounded 
creative tether shined a light 
into the cave of imagination 
and allegory, inviting, 
if not pulling me toward 
a rich heritage far beyond 
the shadowed puppets 
of my youth. 

You were among those 
who gave me courage 
and hope 
to unleash the muse -- 
Calliope, as she has self-identified --  
into this particular place 
and time. 

Horatio extends the summons, 
“Goodnight sweet prince, 
and flights of angels 
sing thee to thy rest.”

© 2018 Todd Jenkins


bd6BayazQKCRp1RXTD+wDgPhoto by Jennie Roberts Jenkins


Your courage is inspiring.
Never underestimate
or forget that.

  I feel a fire.
  At first I believe
  it is yours only;
  the coals of anger
  and rage, fueled
  by violations
  and their attempts
  to dehumanize you.

    After I stand uncomfortably
    near the heat
    for a while,
    my bare feet blistered
    from its remnants,
    I realize that I do not
    want it to be yours alone.

  I want — I need —
  for it to be mine;
  not because doing so
  will reveal the depth
  of your ache in ways
  I can fully comprehend;

but because a candle
flickers in my dreams,
dawning on me,
like the sun rising
across distant mountains,

  casting both light and shadows
  on my own identity,
  revealing a painting
  of worth and healing
  that is inextricably woven
  into this inferno.

    In morning’s light,
    I realize that we
    must have worth together,
    or we will have
    no worth at all.

  I know that my tears
  will not cool, much less
  extinguish the blaze,

but I also know
that their flow
is the path
that connects us,
not only to one another,
but also to the selves
of dignity and respect
for which we were created.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins


UxKArGDhTvGEp7Zq8OJb3gPhoto by Jennie Roberts Jenkins


      What would it look
    and feel like to have
  the "Not Jesus"
loved out of you;

      to be daily pieced together
    with such tenderness
   that grace
  was deep within you,
holding your broken pieces together;

      AND also freely flowing
   onto and into
everyone you encounter?

      These feels
     are what I hope
    and dream about
   breathing, speaking,
   and living into
  the place and time
that are my earthly sojourn.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins

New Chapters

fullsizeoutput_2733For all of you who’ve had to hang out at the Chemo Bar for too long, thinking you’d already heard “Last call!”, but now have learned you need “One more round.”


The previous chapters
weren’t all that bad;
in fact, many
of them quite delightful.

  Yes, there were parts
  we’d like to have rewritten;
  but the boat’s no longer
  in that bend of the river,
  and we’re using our fresh ink
  on here and now.

    Though we had hoped
    not to write
    another one that includes chemo,
    it looks like that’s the story
    that still needs to be lived.

      So, in its living,
      we will write.

    We’ll write about care,
    for it will be taken.

  We’ll write about love,
  for it is the craft
  in which we’re carried.
  We’ll write about grace,
  for it is the river.
  We’ll write about hope,
  for it is tomorrow’s memory,
  slipping into our dreams at night,
  calling us toward one another.

For this and every chapter,
O God, we give you thanks.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins




As mountains stretch
  across the horizon,
    so hope, anchored
    to all points of eternity,
  marks the path behind,
beneath, and before us.

We walk our faith,
  step by step,
    across unexplored terrain,
      wounded by the trail
      and those along it
    as much as
    by our own sabotage,
  suffering our way
toward tomorrow.

And yet, in the pain itself,
  we find a path toward,
  not only healing,
but even wholeness;

not as if wounds themselves
  are necessary conduits
    for passage down Martyr AVE,
      but because scars keep us near
      to deeply plowed earth,
    our toes curled down
  to maintain balance
through the storms.

Hope is a memory of tomorrow,
  grown from a seed named Grace.
Joy is the other side of sorrow,
  with us in each time and place.

One foot in front of another,
  lean toward the future today.
Anticipation your druther,
  let journey show you the way.

© 2018 Todd Jenkins